Alicia's Year Among Friends Here


When Alicia Lucasi came to Carolina Friends School in September of 2008, she brought a wealth of information to share about Bolivian Quakers.  In her own life, Alicia reflected the migration common among Aymara-speaking Quakers from the rural areas to the cities. 



Pictures of her early life on the Bolivian high plateau depict the rigors of cooking over an open fire, harvesting quinoa, and herding llamas and sheep.   At age 16, her move to La Paz led to a traumatic first year at the university.  Her rural school had not prepared her for the rigorous university courses nor given her the proficiency in Spanish she required.  Through prodigious effort she overcame those obstacles and qualified for a scholarship from BQEF for her second year forward.  Alicia did not abandon her rural roots; her university thesis focused on rural Quaker schools. 


Within Carolina Friends School, Alicia’s primary tasks were teaching Spanish in the Upper School and assisting in the Lower School, but she avidly participated in school activities throughout the campus.  In the spring, she co-led the freshman class in their ten-day service project with migrant Hispanic workers in eastern North Carolina.   At the close of the year, Carolina Friends School was so enthusiastic about Alicia and her work that they unhesitatingly asked for another intern.


During the year, Alicia attended Chapel Hill and Durham Friends Meetings.  An extraordinary group of Quaker families from those meetings, along with families of the Carolina Friends School, provided Alicia with a home and support during the year.  Those informal and intimate family settings facilitated in-depth communication and strong bonds of continuing friendship. 


Alicia had opportunities to speak at several Quaker meetings in North Carolina, at Southeastern Yearly Meeting, and at Friends General Conference.  She participated in Friends Council on Education sessions at Pendle Hill and attended the Piedmont Friends Fellowship retreat.

As Alicia showed us pictures of her yearly meeting, we noted the overwhelming preponderance of men.  Few women currently hold positions of leadership among Bolivian Quakers.  That seems likely to change as Alicia and other young women complete their university studies and demonstrate their competence and commitment within their meetings.  Quaker women supported by BQEF scholarships have graduated in health care, education, law, and technology, and have taken their places in the work force. We anticipate that they, along with their male BQEF scholarship graduate counterparts, will exercise strong leadership among Bolivian Quakers.       

When she returned to Bolivia in July, Alicia was brimming with new ideas to bring to Bolivian Quaker schools.  Given Alicia’s enthusiasm, we look forward to the positive changes we are sure she will help to effect.